I am not a big New Year’s resolution person, and throughout 2017 I have tried hard to resist the temptation to say my life was changed by my experiences as if it were some epiphany.
Simply because it wasn’t. There was no epiphany, there was no radical change in the direction, philosophy or reorientation of my core values. The experience of not know if I would take another breath did not make me suddenly want to be a completely different person abandoning the hollow and pointless emptiness of my pursuit of everything that was meaningless, because, I wasn’t engaged in that fruitless dash to oblivion in the first place.
The problem is, of course, the experience has changed me, I am different. Not in a revolutionary way, but the health problem that caused it will likely be lifelong and permanently life affecting, and so I have to change my life, and my expectations based on the limitations and changed landscape (if limitations is perhaps too bleak an outlook, although it would appear to be an accurate and optimistic word), that has come with this change. To say, these changes are hard to deal with, is an understatement, hitting a car at 5mph is a car crash, so is being in an impact where you are trapped, cut out and in ICU for 2 weeks due to your injuries, I feel people imagine the former, when I have experienced very much more of the latter.
Add to that, December, another saga, another set of not done right, and me again, set back, not doing what I want to be doing, not feeling well in myself. Even passing out cold, lights going out, experiences that I would have imagined counted, dismissed, in fact, now its as if none of that ever happened at all. The whole ambulance pulling over and the CPR, paddles, get ready to resuscitate if we need to experiences, erased; I was fine all along apparently.
Into the New Year, I am definitely not very new, and not very shiny. I do not set resolutions because I always set goals throughout the year, although in 2018 I do want to read more books, rather than articles and short pieces. Actually read things from start to finish and dip in and out much much less than I do, I do want to write and create more as well; art and creativity got lost in 2017 with my illness, my competitive goals really becoming dominant on my horizon. I will also be honest, my creative space was not a space, it was a mess and you couldn’t move in it because it was just everything dumped everywhere.
With my office and creative space full of junk, I was finding it myself completely overwhelmed; our house itself had been part way through renovations and decorating when I got ill and those were not finished, and lots of sorting and tidying had not been done. My stepson had moved in and that, although a while ago had massively disrupted our plans, as he just turned up unannounced and took over, and we lost our exclusivity in our own space. He never really understood that the newly decorated guest room wasn’t a dumping ground for his stuff or that the food he just ate was actually tomorrows lunch. Things which when you have 2 incomes and you are well really don’t matter, but when you are overdrawn, on a tight budget and selling personal items (and he hasn’t thought to even pay towards bills) start to really be a big deal. For me, I find creativity hard when I am concentrating on selling, and making money to pay bills, and I felt terrible because I couldn’t get a job, in fact, I cant get a job now cos my health is even worse than it was before December, and we don’t even know if I will ever compete again, let alone compete in 2018.
The changes are huge, or potentially huge, it is all very uncertain, and it is now just me and my wife, in our space, almost, as moving out seems to mean 99% of your things still left behind. I am a very private person, and in difficult times I find my OCD personality traits become more expressive and more likely to have the D, that is disordered. I have a tendency to be obsessive and compulsive, but over my adult life like my attention deficit, I learned to manage them to lose the disorder. Lately the disorder has come back, and I am craving things being right and just so, and of course the third person who has no idea that they are not only breaking many of my personal rules for how I live but also my OCD rules becomes a difficulty that adds to my load in a time where I am already overwhelmed.
Rather than being a new me, the New Year, is very much more an older, broken version of me. Hence being in counselling, I had recognised that things once under control, and I would have said, fixed and functional, are now very much dysfunctional and not fixed. I am emotional, reliving and living in the past, hurt by things that did not hurt for years. For the first time in a long time, I cannot really say what or why, I just encounter a situation, or as this Saturday, a song, and I am in pieces with the memory of the time. The JCB song, my son, 5 singing along on our days out, a happy memory, but now tinged with so much sadness because of what has happned since. Like so many memories, I cannot enjoy them because I no longer see them in the same way I did then. It feels like my life was a lie, and I lived deluded as to the reality because I wanted to be. As I look at pictures of me, and I look at a picture of me, in a bed unable to really speak, paralysed and I look happier in the bed than I do at ice hockey game with my son. I see pictures of me from those times and I can see it, and after all, happy people don’t take overdoses.
Then again, perhaps in the New Year, we are all reborn; perhaps there is truth, every day is a new day, every moment is a new moment, and I am not the person I was five minutes ago, and I can be a different creature than I was. Perhaps Karl Marx was right, the past does lie like a nightmare on the brains of the living, but that we had the opportunity to work our way to move past that and shake off at least some, if not all of that load, and take forward that which empowers and enables.
I am not the person to ask, not today, today, I am breathing, that is success. If I breathe through today, watch the sun set, then I may be allowed to watch the sun rise, and tomorrow could be different, God may take me, there may be something, there may be nothing, but I won’t be the same person, nor can I step in the same river.